Illegal road fosters illicit logging in Quang Ngai
A recent investigation into illegal logging in Hamlet No. 3, Tra Ka Commune in Bac Tra My found that road had been constructed over the course of a year.
Illegal gold exploitation and forest logging
Reporters managed to access the loggers’ camp and discovered that precious trees, including White Seraya, ironwood, and East India Butter Tree, had been chopped down.
A worker at the Tra Ka gold sifting site said, “In the lead up to the Tet holiday, illegal gold exploiters have been speeding up road construction to foster their logging regardless of the rainy weather. However, when they heard about the investigation they hid their machines and tools and halted their operations.”
The illegal road is three metres wide and around five kilometres long.
Hundreds of old trees have been cut down, while a large number of other trees continue to be illegally logged.
According to the investigation, the illegal road is adjacent to a house of a vice chairman of Tra Ka Communal People’s Committee.
Le Van Tuan, an official of Bac Tra My District People’s Committee, the road which is used for illegal gold exploitation and illicit forest logging is under the protection of the communal government.
The reporters discovered at least four large-scale wood collection stations and two illicit gold exploitation sites around the forest. This could be the largest illegal forest logging case they have found.
An official of Tra Ka Commune said, “The district has assigned a taskforce to track down the loggers but they have yet to uncover their location due to torrential rain.”
Le Van Tuan disagreed, said, “We’re finding it really difficult to pursue the loggers who often shelter in different corners of the forest. Sometimes, they flee to the neighbouring district of Tay Tra, hindering our efforts.”
Ho Van Tran, Vice Chairman of the communal People’s Committee, affirmed that the idea to build a road leading to Lon River stemmed from a proposal by local residents in Hamlet No. 3.
“Initially, people intended to build a road to facilitate the exploitation of their planted trees. They wanted the owners of the gold exploitation sites to commence the construction but their proposal was turned down by the district government,” Tran shared.
Despite getting no official approval, gold exploiters continued with the construction in order to serve their illegal forest logging and illicit gold exploitation along Lon River, Tran noted.
The problem is that the illegal road runs past the house of a vice chairman of the communal people’s committee but no one has referred the case to the district government for the best solution.